A Sailor's Life for Me
Written for History week of the National Curriculum challenge set by Slantedlight. Event/artefact given was the Golden Hinde. Thanks to Slantedlight for the excellent beta, as always.
Doyle took a tentative sniff, then shivered and wrapped his scarf more firmly around his neck. "Lovely. Goes right with the weather," he muttered and glared at the white-capped waves racing the clouds towards shore.
"That, my son, is the very best fresh air you can find."
"Smells more like dead fish and seagulls." He was being a misery and knew it, but this was his idea of hell. They were only on this god forsaken vessel because Bodie hadn't told him where their mystery trip would end up 'til it was too late to back out. And now he was stuck. Three days on the bloody thing while she tacked round from London to Southampton.
"Heathen." Bodie was looking down his nose at him. "Have you no soul?"
"Left it back in the East End." He might as well not have bothered speaking. Bodie was miles away again, standing with his legs braced against the swell, hands firm on the rails, his eyes fixed on some far horizon. He looked like some modern day pirate, missing the eye patch and the parrot. "Mum tried reading Treasure Island to me when I was a kid," Doyle offered, wanting to make up for his mood somehow. "Didn't much like that either."
There was silence but for the canvas billowing above them and timbers creaking. When Bodie spoke again, his voice was as distant as his gaze. "Horatio Hornblower," he said. "Read every one of them from cover to cover. Loved 'em. All that adventure on the high seas. Was all I wanted to do, run away to sea and become a sailor like him, see the world." With a visible shudder he was back, turning towards Doyle with a rueful grin. "Wasn't quite what it was cracked up to be when I got there, of course. More diesel fumes than anything and the first time we hit a bit of rough weather, I thought I was going to die."
"Seasick were you?" Doyle made no attempt to hide his own grin at the idea of Bodie, the novice sailor, being struck down so soon out of port.
"Like you wouldn't believe. Came this close," Bodie held up his thumb and forefinger less than an inch apart, "to jumping ship in Dublin. Then I remembered." The breeze surged again, making the sails snap and Bodie's eyes closed for a long second as he breathed deeply. "Old Hornblower got sick something rotten and he never let it stop him. Well," he opened his eyes and they twinkled the same colour as the sky, "couldn't be beaten, could I, so I went up on the foredeck, right into the teeth of it. Looked the weather in the eye and dared it to turn bad again so I could show it who was boss."
"And?" Caught up in the story despite himself, Doyle couldn't help leaning forward in anticipation. "What happened?"
"What do you reckon?"
Doyle grimaced, giving his partner a jaundiced once-over from neat hair to shiny shoes, aware that his own appearance was more windswept scarecrow than millionaire yachtsman. "Knowing the way your luck runs, you jammy sod, the sun probably came out and all you got was freckles."
Bodie chuckled. "Not this time. Came up a force nine then and there and nearly blew me straight back to Liverpool. Ended up hanging on for grim death 'til the mate came to the rescue. The others called me Windy Billy after that, the bastards. Took me forever to live it down. But I tell you what, was never seasick again. Kill or cure, and it worked."
That sounded about right. Typical Bodie behaviour. If it doubt, confront something head-on. "Not changed much, have you?"
"Nope." Bodie smiled and turned again so he was leaning on the rail, his jacket riding up and giving Doyle a wonderful view of long legs topped by a muscular arse beneath cream corduroy. God, the temptation.
The deck suddenly vanished from under his feet. Doyle grabbed for the nearest solid object, which turned out to be Bodie, who managed to catch him just as he stumbled. Arms closed securely round him, holding him tight, and, as the ship moved beneath them, the same trust that allowed him to enter a fire-fight knowing Bodie would watch his back, kicked in. Doyle gave up control and allowed Bodie to hold him, trusting his partner to keep him safely on his feet as they rode the waves gently lifting the huge wooden vessel as she ploughed a furrow through the sea. It was like dancing, their bodies moving together in perfect synchrony. Or sex; the best kind when both parties are fully engaged and full-steam ahead.
As the thought crossed his mind, warm breath skated past his ear, the perfect counterpoint to the chill of the sea breeze. Doyle shuddered, and, more turned on than he thought possible, tugged on Bodie's arm to free himself.
"Going somewhere?" Bodie asked, turning them so easily that Doyle was trapped against the rail, the wood digging into his waist and Bodie plastered against his back, before he realised what was happening.
"Bodie," he hissed, shooting a glance fore and aft in case anyone was looking. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Exactly what I said when we came aboard," Bodie replied, nuzzling under Doyle's hair and blowing heated air down his collar, giving Doyle goosebumps right down his spine.
Doyle clutched the rail and tried to get his brain to work. "Having a long weekend on the Golden Hinde?" Surely that'd been what he said. Doyle thought he could remember it quite clearly.
Apparently Bodie remembered differently. "I dunno, sunshine, gonna have to wash your ears out," he said brightly and began thrusting his hips oh so very slowly. "Never said a word about the ship. Personally, I'm planning a long weekend on your golden behind."
-- THE END --